DEAR JOYCE: I have a MBA degree in marketing and worked in insurance sales for over 10 years. I was laid off in 2008 and since then have been searching for full-time employment in other positions, such as branch manager trainee, assistant marketing manager and adjunct instructor. Could you assist me in my research? -- C.C.
A: Careers in marketing (careersinmarketing.com) is one place to check out possibilities in your field.
Assuming you have a MBA from an accredited university (not a degree mill), I don't know why you're having so much trouble getting reconnected unless you dress funny and mumble through interviews. Perhaps you should take another look at your career choice -- are you in the right job field?
If you can afford to do so, work with a career counselor to take a statistically validated career interest inventory, personality test or another career assessment. (Contact a counselor at your alma mater's career center for recommendations.)
But after two years of unemployment, money's a huge factor. Consider winging it with free or low cost online career assessment tests. Here are three examples:
1) Checkster (checkster.com) is a free assessment of optimal job fit developed by Yves Lermusiaux with Richard Nelson Bolles.
2) Keirsey Temperament Sorter (keirsey.com) is a free and well-regarded assessment tool.
3) Self-Directed Search (self-directed-search.com) is a $4.95 assessment of careers that best match your interests and abilities. The test uses Dr. John Holland's principles and was developed in accordance with National Career Development Association guidelines.
Tests can be useful tools to get you off the dime and pointed toward your North Star. But remember that it's best to take a mix of tests because no one test is infallible, and you must always validate any career lead the tests turn up, not blindly follow its results.
DEAR JOYCE: I'm retired now but when I was about 50 years old, I was interviewed for a job in a small lighting company. The young woman interviewer was part-owner of the company.
One of her questions was, "How is your energy level?" My reply: "Last Sunday I took a 26-mile bike trip." She seemed satisfied with the answer.
I didn't take the job only because I had a better offer with a large corporation. -- J.C.
A: Good answer!
DEAR JOYCE: My daughter will graduate from college this year and, unfortunately, has student debt to pay off. What's the job forecast this year? -- T.C.
A: Warming and gaining momentum, says the National Association of Colleges and Employers. According to NACE'S latest survey, employers expect to hire 19 percent more new college graduates this year than they did last year.
Hiring is up across regions and in most industries, especially by oil/gas extraction companies, chemical manufacturers and computer/electronics manufacturers. Prospects are also bright at finance, insurance and real estate employers.
NACE analysis reports the average number of applications per opening has fallen from 40 in 2010 to just over 21 currently.
DEAR JOYCE: After wasting time since high school, at 21 I've decided it's time to get serious about doing something with my life. I have two questions: Would I be better off doing an apprenticeship or going for an associate degree at a community college? Also, what are prospects to get a nursing job in a nursing home for older adults? -- C.A.L.
A: The Urban Institute, a think tank, recently surveyed sponsors of apprenticeship programs, and nearly two-thirds of them said that at least 70 percent of their apprentices finished their programs.
This far outstrips the 36 percent of community college students who complete an associate degree or certificate, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.
There's no mystery here -- apprentices are paid for their participation through the learn-and-earn method; community college students pay the colleges.
Job security and pay is good for some jobs in residential care for older people. Find out which ones by browsing for "Nursing Jobs in Nursing Homes" in Occupational Outlook Quarterly Spring 2011. The 11-page article tells it like it is.
(E-mail career questions for possible use in this column to Joyce Lain Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org; use "Reader Question" for subject line. Or mail her at Box 368, Cardiff, CA 92007.)
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